The Role of Digital Models and Industrial Robots in Enabling Manufacturing-as-a-Service
Capturing this week's zeitgeist
Knud Lasse Lueth at IoT Analytics uncovered 32 insights and 10 main trends at HANNOVER MESSE 2023. Among them were ‘Interoperability focus is shifting from assets to data’:
Discussions at the fair showed how specific asset connectivity technologies such as OPC-UA, IO-Link, or MQTT have become or are in the process of becoming global interoperability standards. With such standards establishing themselves, at the same time as AI and data are taking a much bigger role in many digital transformation initiatives, the focus is shifting away from standards to connect assets toward data format standards and architectures.
This week's most influential Industry 4.0 media
🦾 Protolabs presents 2023 Robotics Manufacturing Status Report
Industrial robots are also perceived as one of the most powerful ways to automate and build ﬂexible production lines that enable customised production models like made-to-order and engineering-to-order. The latter model leads to mass customization i.e., the ability to produce highly customised products with only marginal increase in production cost.Industrial robots can automatically reconﬁgure production lines to produce alternative product variants with limited, or even zero, human intervention. Nevertheless, this ﬂexible manufacturing approach is gradually reaching its limits, as radically differentiated products require changes, not only in the conﬁguration of the production line, but also on the machinery used, especially when there is a need to manufacture a new product. Designing the production system of a new product requires efforts that are orders of magnitude higher than producing a variant of an existing product.
A key enabler of the advancement of robotics innovation is the leveraging of digital models to enable the manufacturing as a service (MaaS) paradigm. MaaS or digital manufacturing platforms offer access to various manufacturing processes, such as 3D printing, CNC machining, and injection moulding, and provide an easy transactional experience by allowing customers to upload their part designs to quickly get quotes for manufacturing costs and lead times.
Does a Five-Axis Machine Increase Business?
Prototyping and R&D work from labs and private companies has provided Meyer Tool a strong foundation. Although making parts for complex projects like particle accelerators is fulfilling work, it’s looking to expand its customer base. Urban says the company’s goal is to reach 70% OEM work, with more higher-volume and repeat jobs.
In order to accomplish this goal, it’s open to adopting new technologies. “Let’s say we do get a huge contract with a high volume. We have no problem going out and getting that cobot or investing in ourselves to be able to take on that kind of work,” Urban says. “We’re open to pretty much anything that can come our way.”
This is how the company acquired its first five-axis machine five years ago. One of Meyer Tool’s customers approached the shop with a part. The shop is one of a few approved vendors for this customer, so it knew it had a good chance of winning the job. But the part was very complex — a dome with multiple threaded holes and a water channel that curved all the way around the top of the part. Urban knew it would require five-axis machining. The shop had been considering a five-axis machine for some time, and with this job, it decided the time was right to purchase a Hurco VMX42SRTi.
“Today’s quotes are won by price and lead time. Having a five-axis machine gives you the advantage of both.”
✈️ Boeing takes flight in sustainability battle with carbon data cruncher
US aerospace giant Boeing has released a data modeling tool designed to reveal the effects of a range of technologies that the industry hopes will reduce aviation’s carbon emissions.
In an effort to better understand the impact of proposed solutions, the Seattle-based manufacturer has released the Boeing Cascade Climate Impact Model for public use. The data modeling tool identifies the effects of a range of sustainability solutions to reduce aviation’s carbon emissions and can be found at Boeing’s new Sustainable Aerospace Together hub.
The company promises that Cascade crunches the numbers on the full life cycle of alternate energy sources for aviation, including production and distribution of fuels, through to their usage. Data modeling also measures airplane fleet renewal, operational efficiency, renewable energy sources, future aircraft, and market-based measures as pathways to decarbonization.
Sustainable Industry Repair with RoboDK
Weekly mergers, partnerships, and funding events across industrial value chains
🚰 Gradiant Raises $225 Million to Accelerate Business Expansion
Gradiant, a global end-to-end solutions provider of advanced water and wastewater treatment, today announced it has raised $225 million in its first close of Series D financing. The round was led by BoltRock Holdings and Centaurus Capital, bringing Gradiant’s total funding to date to over $400 million and its valuation to $1 billion. Gradiant is one of the fastest-growing companies in the water industry achieving over 100% YOY top-line growth for four consecutive years. The company will use the new financing to continue its expansion into strategic markets to make Gradiant the preferred water partner of the world’s essential industries. The funding will also support growth into new geographies, such as the Middle East and Europe, and further fuel Gradiant’s R&D programs.
ANYbotics Secures $50M Series B Funding to Revolutionize Industrial Inspection with its Four-Legged Robotic Workforce
ANYbotics, a Swiss robotics pioneer, today announced a $50 million Series B funding round led by international deep tech investors Walden Catalyst and NGP Capital with participation from Bessemer Venture Partners, Aramco Ventures, Swisscom Ventures, Swisscanto Private Equity, and other existing investors. The funds will be used to scale deployments internationally, fuel the development of new capabilities, and solidify ANYbotics’ leading competitive position in robotic inspection solutions.
Noveon Magnetics Announces $75 Million Series B Funding
Noveon Magnetics, the only U.S.-based manufacturer of high-performance neodymium sustainable rare earth magnets, today announced it has closed a $75 million Series B funding round led by NGP and Aventurine Partners. J.P. Morgan acted as placement agent to Noveon on the transaction. The new funding will accelerate the expansion of Noveon’s manufacturing facilities and enhance its position as a leading provider of critical rare earth magnets to businesses that span the automotive, defense, energy production, medical, and consumer goods sectors, among others. Additionally, James Wallis, Partner at NGP, will join Noveon’s Board of Directors.
🖨️ Alloy Enterprises Raises $26M to Unlock Aluminum Fabrication at Scale
Alloy Enterprises, the world’s first Digital Aluminum Fab, announces the completion of a $26 million oversubscribed Series A round led by Piva Capital and joined by new investors Unless, Flybridge Capital, MassMutual Catalyst Fund, Robert Downey Jr.’s Footprint Coalition, and existing investors Congruent Ventures and Riot Ventures. The funding brings the total raised to $37 million.
Alloy Enterprises is filling the void with a fast, cost-effective manufacturing method that streamlines the production of aluminum parts at scale here in the U.S. Alloy supplies complex aluminum components to its customers. Its’ unique solution is the first process specially designed for aluminum that does not use aluminum powder. Using a combination of laser cutting and diffusion bonding, the team can produce production volumes through its machines cost-effectively while maintaining the advantages of 3D printing, such as reducing lead times, iterating designs quickly, avoiding expensive tooling, and digitizing inventory.
🏗️ SWAPP raises $11.5 million Series A to help architects with AI platform
SWAPP, which has developed automation software for architectural construction documents, announced on Wednesday the closing of an $11.5 million Series A funding round. With this funding, the company has raised a total of $18.5 million since it was founded.
Mitsubishi Electric Announces Strategic Investment in OTTO Motors to Accelerate Industrial Automation
Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (TOKYO 6503), a global leader in factory automation solutions, today announced a strategic investment in Clearpath Robotics, the parent company of autonomous mobile robot leader, OTTO Motors.
🖨️ Asahi Kasei invests in Israeli startup Castor Technologies
Asahi Kasei (TOKYO 3407) has decided to invest in Castor Technologies Ltd. (CASTOR), an Israeli startup specialized in the development of 3D printing software. In addition to utilizing CASTOR’s software and services, the investment will allow Asahi Kasei to pursue synergies between its CAE (Computer Aided Engineering) technical service for plastic products and CASTOR’s software.
Fabless Semiconductor Innovator Stathera Announces US $15M Series A Funding Round
Stathera Inc., a leading provider of MEMS (Micro-electromechanical Systems) timing solutions, announced today that the company has raised $15 Million in a Series A funding round. The round was co-led by BDC Capital’s Deep Tech Venture Fund and Celesta Capital, with additional participation from strategic investors including MediaTek, Seiko Epson, and TXC.
“Technology scaling using conventional timing architectures has hit a wall when it comes to synchronizing next-generation electronics. Stathera’s technology introduces a new approach to integrating and manufacturing timing devices,” said George Xereas, Stathera’s CEO and Co-founder. “We are excited to be the only company with state-of-the-art DualModeTM frequency technology, which has the potential to re-architect the entire $9.4 Billion electronics timing industry. We are grateful to our investors for recognizing and investing in this potential, which will allow us to expand our world class team and drive commercialization.”
VoxelSensors Raises €5M in Seed Funding for blending the physical and digital worlds through 3D perception
VoxelSensors announces an investment of €5M led by Belgian venture capital firms Capricorn Partners and Qbic, with participation from the investment firm finance&invest.brussels, existing investors and the team. VoxelSensors’ Switching Pixels® Active Event Sensor (SPAES) is a novel category of ultra-low power and ultra-low latency 3D perception sensors for Extended Reality (XR)1 to blend the physical and digital worlds. The funding will be used to further develop VoxelSensors’ roadmap, hire key employees, and strengthen business engagements with customers in the U.S. and Asia. Furthermore, VoxelSensors remains committed to raising funds in order to back its ambitious growth plans.
SAP and Google Cloud Expand Partnership to Build the Future of Open Data and AI for Enterprises
SAP SE (NYSE SAP) and Google Cloud announced an extensive expansion of their partnership, introducing a comprehensive open data offering designed to simplify data landscapes and unleash the power of business data.
The offering enables customers to build an end-to-end data cloud that brings data from across the enterprise landscape using the SAP Datasphere solution together with Google’s data cloud, so businesses can view their entire data estates in real time and maximize value from their Google Cloud and SAP software investments.